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L.T. Suzuki

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Member Since: Jan, 2009

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Blogs by L.T. Suzuki

The Kindle Prime Experiment
2/25/2012 9:21:38 PM
My experience using the Kindle Prime Program & the free book promo.
In January of this year, I decided to publish ebook versions of my YA Fantasies, The Dream Merchant Saga: Book One, The Magic Crystal and Book Two, The Silver Sword for a 90-day trial on the New Kindle Prime Program.

In the first month, sales of my adult epic fantasy series, the Imago Chronicles tripled in sales compared to Decemberís sales, but not much had happened in February for the novels in The Dream Merchant Saga. I was still having a tough time convincing those who loved the Imago novels to make the jump to my new YA fantasy novels.

With nothing to lose, and eager to find a readership for this YA series, I decided to try out two-days of a FREE book promo for The Magic Crystal.

Over the weekend of Feb. 11th & 12th of this free book promo, The Magic Crystal jumped from #330,552 in the Paid Ranks to #40,060. It also made it on the top 10 YA Fantasy list for free books, even surpassing Cornelia Funkeís novel, Reckless (which was ranked at #24) during the same time period.

During these two days, there were 811 downloads of The Magic Crystal. The goal was to see if I could introduce my YA fantasy to some readers, as many of the Imago Chronicles fans seemed very reluctant to try a YA series. Of course, I know there are some who cannot resist a freebie; downloading ebooks galore only to forget about them, so Iíd say itís safe to assume that Iíd be lucky if even a quarter of them actually read this novel. But like my former agent once said, ďI donít care how many books an authors gives away, I want to know sales numbers! Iím only concerned with how many will invest money to pay for the book and time to read it.Ē

With this in mind, my husband took meticulous records of sales prior to this free promo, during the promo and immediately after, so Iíd have exact numbers of actual sales versus free downloads.

Since this promo ended, as of Feb. 25th, 66 have purchased The Magic Crystal while 3 have borrowed this book from the Prime Lending Library. An additional 13 have returned to buy the sequel The Silver Sword.

Now, I sell Book One, The Magic Crystal for only 99Ę so, with Januaryís compensation rate for the library at $1.60, itís more than what Iíd make selling the book. Unfortunately, anybody borrowing Book Two, The Silver Sword from this library, it will mean Iíll get less than if I were able to sell this book for $2.99.

In other words, authors selling their books for 99Ę stand to profit more if their books are borrowed. However, if subsequent titles which are sold for $2.99 or more, the author stands to lose. Itís my understanding some authors had experienced a drop in sales as much as 15% because those who borrow as a member of Kindle Prime can do so for free!

I am truly happy for the authors who felt they really benefited from this program, but I do have a problem with it, and this problem continues to gnaw at the back of my mind.

If authors begin to pull their works from Smashwords, the Apple Store, Barnes & Noble and give Amazon exclusive rights to sell their books, allowing Amazon to have a monopoly on ebook sales, squeezing ebook retailers out of business, eventually readers and authors will undoubtedly suffer. Readers will have fewer options to buy ebooks from where they want to buy them and will be made to purchase a Kindle because their former eReader, whether it be a Kobo, Nook, iPad, iPhone, Sony eReader, or whatever, no longer has access to retailers providing for their specific reading device.

In truth, itís a great strategy on Amazonís part to dominate and eventually monopolize the market, but for the consumers and authors? What will be the long-term ramifications of such a monopoly?

We all know what happens when a large corporation moves to monopolize the landscape, whether itís a transportation or electrical company. There is no longer the need to be competitive and in the end, consumers will be forced to rally in protest when monopolies take full advantage of their power.

Iím not saying that Amazon has intentions of world domination on the ebook front, but it would be naÔve, from a business aspect, to say that if they were able to convince enough authors to sell exclusively through Amazon, the end result would be that other vendors would collapse. Weíve seen it happen to indie bookstores and now, even the big name bookstores are feeling the pressure of declining sales as more and more purchases are happening online.

In the business world, we all know what happens when we do not have the freedom of choice, when we have no option but to buy from one powerhouse who pulls all the strings in terms of buyers and sellers.

So, is Kindle Prime for me? Thank you, but no! Iíll be pulling The Dream Merchant Saga from this program to make it available to all those readers who want the freedom to buy from Barnes & Noble, Apple, Smashwords etc. to download on their eReader of choice. And in my humble opinion, choice is a good thing.

In the meantime, thank you so much to all of you who took advantage of the free copy of The Magic Crystal and a very special thank you to those jumped on after the free promo to pay for a copy only to return to buy its sequel, The Silver Sword as well as books in the Imago Chronicles series!

Wishing you many happy, engaging hours of reading, my friends! ;-)




Comments (1)

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